NLRB rules college football players are “employees” and can unionize [Darleen Click]
If this ruling stands, you can kiss good by to most college athletic programs.
Northwestern University football players were given the right to form college sports’ first labor union in a ruling that could seismically change the $16 billion business of top-level university athletics.
Peter Ohr, the National Labor Relations Board regional director in Chicago, ruled that all scholarship football players at the Evanston, Illinois, school who have not exhausted their college eligibility are “employees” and ordered an immediate election to create a union board.
Northwestern said it would appeal yesterday’s 24-page ruling, which for now only affects athletes at private schools and not at public universities, to the full NLRB in Washington. [...]
In his ruling, Ohr said the scholarship football players are employees because they are compensated and come under the university’s control. The NLRB governs the rights of private-sector employees, meaning that the ruling only affects athletes who compete at private schools. Public-school players seeking to unionize would have to gain approval from state-run labor boards.
There are a lot of issues in college football and basketball as cash cows that lead to temptation to flout the rules about academics. And addressing issues of long term physical harm is another legitimate area to explore.
However, while the phrase $16 billion in revenue! is tossed about as evidence of NCAA/University “greed”, people forget that without a profitable football and/or basketball program at the school means no track and field, gymnastics, wrestling, tennis and other money-losing programs.
Though, there might be another reason for this push to unionize …
The United Steelworkers Union backed the players’ NLRB petition and is paying their legal fees.
And just think, at public universities, the football players will join Public Employee Unions!